standalone media player suggestions

Nov 18, 2017 12:24AM PST

Hi. I am after a standalone media player, not one that runs on windows or mac, but something you can place on an external drive and boot off, something totally independant. And it must have an audio equalizer.

I used xmbc a few years ago, but that has gone and the new stuff is all windows or os based.

Any suggestions?

Many thanks. John.

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My background includes
Nov 18, 2017 12:42AM PST

DVR players and we used an OS in those. All the systems I've seen had an OS, even when none was apparent.

Are you really looking for a no-OS player? There are small cheap android boxes that have many media players. But no-OS? You may be unicorn hunting.

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Re: standalone
Nov 18, 2017 12:42AM PST

Any program needs an OS to run all.
For example, take GPARTED, a graphic partition editor, as the name says. It's included in most Linux distros, but you can also download and burn a bootable iso-file with GPARTED as the only program. But if I remember well, it is some 100 MB, and most of it is Linux to boot into and allow the program to run.

Feel free to make your own bootable VLC-only Linux disc or stick. Or, in fact, any Linux compatible player that meets your requirements. Or even a Windows to go stick where you replaced winlogon.exe by your favorite mediaplayer.

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Investigate Linux LIVE DVD and USB distros
Nov 18, 2017 12:51AM PST

You can use a DVD to boot from, but it is a full OS that operates from it. Better is when it's installed on USB with "persistance", which means you can add programs to it. You can boot directly from them. You can download the ISO from whatever distro you like and make your own DVD or USB version. Best for a newbie to linux systems is just to order a DVD or USB with persistence. This is the least expensive site and closely aligned with all the various distros.

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Thanks for the replies
Nov 18, 2017 11:43PM PST

Thanks. Yes, the media player like the old xbmc used a small linux based os to run the media player only, the advantage is that with windows os there are a whole load of clashing and competing processes running in the background which reduces audio / video performance.
I have proven this by using software like fidelizer which shuts down background processes and allows more resources to be passed onto the media player, giving a significant rise in a/v performance.
For this reason i am trying to find a media player which runs on a simple os, preferably a standalone one.
Many thanks for your help.

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Kodi OK? runs on Linux now.
Nov 19, 2017 6:23AM PST

How to. Be VERY careful using the dd command to do this. You can do it from a LInux LIVE DVD too, but realise the Download folder will disappear when you are finished, since it's "read only" system at that point. However it will allow you to write the disc image onto your USB device for the stand alone Kodi. If you do the Linux method, use the GParted program to determine for sure which is your main hard drive to be sure you don't dd it by accident.
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Nov 19, 2017 6:26AM PST

Using windows to do the install of Kodi to flashdrive looks easier and probably safer. I'd try that first.

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Using windows to do the install of Kodi to flashdrive
Nov 22, 2017 10:02PM PST

Hi. Sorry, i misunderstood your reply. I thought you meant install kodi to windows, then from there to a flash drive.
So there is no equaliser for kodi. Do you know if there is one in openelec. If not, which is a good distro for installing vlc media player. I want a distro home htpc, nothing else.

Many thanks.

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Kodi, formerly XBMC
Nov 19, 2017 6:47AM PST
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follow up
Nov 21, 2017 10:45PM PST

Hi. Thanks for the replies, much appreciated.

I have installed kodi on windows, i need an audio equalizer. On google it says something about xbmc audio mixer, i have searched the repository throughly but can't find it. Is there any eq available for kodi?

Also can this be output to an external amp via passthrough, or is eq not passthroughed.

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I'm a little confused
Nov 22, 2017 11:11AM PST

You put Kodi on Windows OS? Did you also install to Linux? You mentioned "repository" which is in Linux systems. On my Mint 17 I only see xbmc available, nothing for kodi. Maybe your distro has something different in it's repository. I checked the xbmc options in Package Manager and didn't see any equalizer as a stand alone for xbmc. As for windows OS, I don't know.

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Thanks for the replies
Nov 23, 2017 11:22PM PST

Hi. So there is no eq for kodi, is there one for open elec.


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Nope, not in repository.
Nov 24, 2017 2:31AM PST

~ $ aptitude show openelec
E: Unable to locate package openelec

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Nov 24, 2017 9:11PM PST

In windows i had problems with vlc media player, as the many services running in the background were interfering with and lowering a/v playback quality.
I heard that linux distros do not have this problem, that there are no background services. Is this true? Cold i install any distro and get identical a/v quality.


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Linux Mint 17.3
Nov 24, 2017 11:10PM PST
It comes with VLC already in it, although it's easy enough to add to version 18.2

It's Free. I do give support at times. If you decide to use it, you could too. No product keys needed, no genuine advantage to contend with, and it respects your privacy, doesn't turn the word "privacy" into a bad joke.

You always want an LTS release of a distro. It's "Long Term Service" so support lasts for years, both for added software, updates (YOU control what and when), and devoted forum.

You can download that distro as an ISO file from here, which you burn image to a DVD-+R. I use the MATE desktop, which is most stable and arguably the easiest for new users. You have choice of 32 or 64 bit for trying out. What happens when you burn to a DVD-+R and then boot to it, is a fully functioning, but "read only" OS that you can try out without installing, to see if it's what you want. When using the LIVE DVD, anything you want to save must be to your hard drive, since it all disappears when you reboot or shutoff computer.

MATE (32-bit)
MATE (64-bit)

If you are unable to create yourself, you can order a DVD cheapest from here for about $6.

the really sweet spot is a LIVE USB installed version for about $36 with following stats. You boot to it and it has a compressed version with "persistence" which means it runs just like it was installed to a HDD. Consider this, I've been running mine in about 42 GB partition for past 3 years and still have 11GB of room left. This is 64 GB in size and USB3 device you can carry on keychain and boot to on almost any computer. There are also 64 bit versions of the OS you can use, depending on your computer's capabilities. I advise if you have 4GB of RAM or less, to use the 32 bit OS however.

Linux Mint 17.3 MATE - 64GB USB Flash Drive (32-bit)

Categories: Beginners, Desktop
Media Type: Install, Live
Model: Samsung MUF-64BA/AM (USB 3.0/2.0)
Transfer Speed: 150MB/s read; 40MB/s write
Persistence: Yes
Capacity: 64GB
Platform: 32-bit (x86)
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Thanks for the replies
Nov 24, 2017 11:42PM PST

What do you think about the point of interfering background services reducing a/v performance, is this only with windows or does it affect linux distros as well.


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Comparing speccy of W10 to Linux System processes Monitor
Nov 25, 2017 12:20AM PST

It's fairly obvious that Windows background processes greatly exceed linux background processes by several times over. You can run a Speccy on your windows, then boot a LIVE DVD and open the System Monitor, usually available in the main Menu area and compare for yourself. Both of them however depend on how many programs you have open at the time.

In Linux it's easy to see all running processes, both in System Monitor, or in terminal with the "top" or "htop" command.

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List of my processes after 5 days running
Nov 25, 2017 12:28AM PST

~ $ inxi -I
Info: Processes: 176
Uptime: 5 days
Memory: 622.8/3907.1MB
Client: Shell (bash) inxi: 2.2.28

~ $ inxi -t cm 1000
CPU: % used - top 5 active
1: cpu: 2.7% command: X pid: 1602
2: cpu: 0.3% command: mate-terminal pid: 13944
3: cpu: 0.3% command: mate-sensors-applet pid: 2416
4: cpu: 0.1% command: pulseaudio pid: 2359
5: cpu: 0.0% command: dnsmasq pid: 17794
Memory: MB / % used - Used/Total: 623.3/3907.1MB - top 5 active
1: mem: 123.56MB (3.1%) command: caja pid: 2354
2: mem: 80.34MB (2.0%) command: X pid: 1602
3: mem: 37.54MB (0.9%) command: (started by: python2.7) pid: 8296
4: mem: 34.05MB (0.8%) command: (started by: python2) pid: 2406
5: mem: 30.75MB (0.7%) command: hp-systray (started by: python3) pid: 2364

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I'll add this note.
Nov 25, 2017 12:15AM PST

You wrote "What do you think about the point of interfering background services reducing a/v performance, is this only with windows or does it affect linux distros as well."

Let me share my experience on my 8GB Intel NUC with SSD. This one:
Intel NUC NUC5CPYH, 4K Support via HDMI, Intel HD Graphics, SATA3 for 2.5-Inch HDD/SSD BOXNUC5CPYH

I tried over 6 Linux distros then Windows 10 and the best performance for VLC was in W10.

My guess is the drivers Intel issued for Windows were the most polished.

Not once did I suspect interfering background apps in any of the OSes. As far as I could tell this is all about the audio, video drivers and how optimized they were. This is not a very advanced graphic system but typical in some boxes and older PCs.

What does it run today? W10.

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Agree it's the drivers that matter most
Nov 25, 2017 12:31AM PST

So long as the RAM and CPU isn't being maxed out by the OS. Then there might be some slowdown.

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Will Update
Nov 25, 2017 11:21PM PST

I don't have win 10, only 7, and there is considerable difference when using fidelizer software. This stops as many background services as possible and raises priority of a/v tasks.
I heard there were a/v issues with win 7, perhaps things have improved with win 10.
I'm going to compare openelec, linux mint and my dune hd media streamer and will post back the results. At the moment the dune is superior to win 7 in both audio and video..

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(NT) Looking forward to it.
Nov 25, 2017 11:32PM PST
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Re: media player
Nov 26, 2017 12:04PM PST

How about something like

It's standalone, it plays media from an external USB-disc, you don't even need to boot it (just turn it on) and I'm sure you'll never see any background process on it. So I think it meets all your requirements.

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drivers help
Nov 27, 2017 12:57AM PST

Hi. I am trying to install the drivers for linux mint, got them from my laptop manufacturer's website, don't want third party drivers, is it possible to install the manufacturer's drivers into mint. They are .rpm files


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you need an alien for that
Nov 27, 2017 11:05AM PST
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Driver tweak
Nov 27, 2017 10:53PM PST

Thanks for the reply.

I would rather use the manufacturer's drivers, i have tried third party and drivers downloaded from software websites but i get problems in windows 7, flickering screen, hdmi not being recognised, i think the manufacturer's drivers are tweaked for this machine somewhat so would much rather use them.
Not sure what the situation would be with linux mint, maybe the third party drivers may be okay but i've had no luck with them in windows.

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Checked out the links
Nov 27, 2017 11:07PM PST

Looks too complicated for me, could you put up on your server.
Do you think linux mint drivers would be okay, is it worth trying them?

Thank you.

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I can't.
Nov 28, 2017 2:29PM PST

You never said the make and model of the computer, or motherboard supplier. You never posted a link to the page with the .rpm files on it. I'm not sure why you even need them instead of what's included already in Mint.

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Nov 29, 2017 12:22AM PST

The pc is a hp elitebook 8570p.
Thought i'd try the install with linux drivers and see if it works ok, but am getting a bootloader error on mint 18.2 cinnamon. There are a few other partitions options available on the drop down menu to install to, but no change, it is refusing to install.
I have not tried putting the bootloader into the same partition as the windows bootloader.
Any advice?

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Nov 29, 2017 12:20PM PST

yes it should go into the same partition as the windows, which should be labeled EFI as I recall, but make sure you are using the 64 bit version of linux 18.2 and it should do it automatically on the install. If you are using the 32 bit version, then that can only be installed in Legacy/CSM mode and has to be set that way in the UEFI-BIOS first. Don't use the 32 bit version on UEFI computer, makes no sense to do so.

I will go find those .rpm files and convert and post later.

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Re: linux mint
Nov 29, 2017 12:44PM PST

Once you have Linux Mint operational, be sure to read about disabling all demons (that's the Linux term for what Windows calls services) you don't need in a stand-alone media player. It's about the Linux equivalent of services.msc in Windows, that lets you select what services to start during boot and logon.

Are you sure the remaining Linux demons do have a less negative effect on the sound quality than the services Windows needs to run and play audio?
It would be interesting to see quantitative information about both the number of demons/services that need to be active and the percentage of the CPU they use in these 2 OS'es when you listen to your favorite high-quality music. I doubt if you will hear any difference when listening to mp3's which usually are low quality.

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